Advice from My Hairdresser


I’ve been going to the same hairdresser since I was 22 and the move to Seattle hasn’t changed that. There’s a perfectly good Aveda school down the street from me where you can get a discount hair-do while the students practice on you, but I don’t think I’d ever feel properly coiffed if someone besides Joy did it. So if there are stretches of times between visits back to Indiana, my roots get a little dodgy. Fortunately, I live in possibly the only city in the U.S. where no one really cares what you look like or would dare to judge you harshly for roots or, for that matter, forgetting to brush your hair for two days or wearing Crocs out to dinner.

If you can get and keep a hairdresser as long as I’ve had Joy, I recommend it. You know each other’s stories and you don’t have to make small talk but instead can go straight to the big stuff–the confessions and frustrations and encouragement. It’s not unlike going to a therapist only I like to think it’s a bit more mutual. Perhaps everyone who sits in Joy’s chair feels like she is their very good friend, but I don’t like to think about that. I prefer pretending I’m her only client and, let’s be honest, if not her only client then at least her favorite.

Several years ago when I knew I loved Z but before he knew he loved me back, I had a religious experience, the result of which was a sort of divine message that I needed not to give up on him though the case seemed hopeless if you looked at the facts (including the big one wherein he lived in Zimbabwe and I lived in Indiana and the other big one wherein I’d told him how I felt about him and he’d told me how he felt about me, and our feelings weren’t seeing eye-to-eye). I shared this story of the vision I’d had with Joy, and instead of looking at me like my brains had been scrambled by too much hair color,  she got tears in her eyes. When I dismissed it as my own crazy mind making up this vision to encourage false hope, she said sternly, “Don’t you hurt Jesus’s feelings like that. Do you know how lucky you are to have had this experience? You listen to it.” I won’t say I never had another doubt, but I thought a lot about it and three and a half years later, things changed and  my vision was confirmed. Joy’s belief that I should keep the faith helped me keep it. It’s hard not to feel connected to someone like that, even if you only ever talk to them for two hours once every eight weeks.

So today while she was blonding me up, I told her about my job and about how I need to figure out Next and what the Next possibilities might be (which are vague, ghosty kinds of possibilities right now). In unrelated conversation,  I mentioned my friend’s terribly successful blog that went massively viral over the last three days. Joy’s eyes got big because she’d just heard about the blog on Good Morning America. And then I told her about how I sometimes have blogging dreams. Her eyes got bigger and she said, “This sounds like you. I think you need to investigate how to make this work.” And then she sent a text in the evening that said, “No. Seriously. I think you need to try this” and then she said some other nice things about me, which I’ll put in my “kudos” file to read later on some dark day when She Who Shall Not Be Named does some other horrible thing that makes me feel as if I’m the equivalent of a career fast food worker with no plan to become crew chief.

It’s not nice to doubt joy.


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